LEES CREEK — A reign of Blanchester three-pointers buried East Clinton 67-36 Tuesday night in SBAAC National Division boys basketball action at the EC gym.
Branson Smith swished a 3-pointer of his own for East Clinton with 42 seconds left in the first half. That cut the Blanchester lead to 25-18 and the Astros’ faithful was poised for a possible upset.
At the time, Blanchester scoring machine Brayden Sipple had just 8 points.
But then Sipple found the range.
He made 3-pointers with 30 seconds left in the first and then at the halftime buzzer and suddenly the BHS lead was a more comfortable 31-18.
“Those were huge,” BHS head coach Adam Weber said after the game. “He does such a methodical job of running the offense, sometimes we just need him to shoot.”
But East Clinton wasn’t going to make it easy for Sipple. Quinton Tolle was credited with keeping Sipple in check through much of the first half.
“Quinton Tolle played his butt off,” EC head coach Phil Shori said. “We forced them to make somebody else (other than Sipple) beat us. If we can contain Sipple, we can be in the game.
“And we were.”
As the third quarter started, Sipple made 3-pointers at 6:54 and 6:14 then was joined in the long-range barrage by Bryce Highlander at 5:42 and Brison Lucas at 4:53. In between, Sipple hit a measly 2-pointer.
The end result was a 20-0 Wildcats run, a 45-18 lead and the ballgame was all but over.
Sipple finished with 34 points and now has 2,038 for his career, third all-time on the Clinton County basketball scoring list behind Jarron Cumberland (2,408) and Don Fields (2,135). On the night, Sipple passed Mya Jackson who has 2,033 career points at Wilmington High School.
“He’s an extremely good player and eventually he’s going to get his (points),” Shori said.
Branson Smith had 20 points for the Astros, but 13 of those came in the first half. Smith had 9 in the second quarter.
“Branson Smith got them going by creating in the lane,” Weber said.
The win puts Blanchester at 4-1 overall and 3-0 in the division.
East Clinton goes to 2-3 overall and 1-2 in the National.
Blanchester will travel to Bethel-Tate Friday night while East Clinton will host Felicity.
Dec 15, 2020
@East Clinton High School
Blanchester 67 East Clinton 36
(67) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Bryce Sipple 0-0-0-0 Highlander 2-2-2-8 Lucas 4-1-2-11 Gray 1-0-0-2 Hogsett 0-0-0-0 McVey 2-0-1-5 Brayden Sipple 11-6-6-34 Wilson 0-0-0-0 Heitzman 3-0-1-7 TOTALS 23-9-12-67
(36) EAST CLINTON (fg-3fg-ft-tp) B Smith 7-1-5-20 McClure 0-0-0-0 J. Smith 1-0-0-2 Runyon 2-1-1-6 Tolle 0-0-1-1 Crowe 0-0-0-0 Arnold 2-1-2-7 Daniel 0-0-0-0 Bean 0-0-0-0 Davis 0-0-0-0 Norman 0-0-0-0 TOTALS 12-3-9-36
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wnjsports